This is the scene of writing: a woman stands on a quiet street corner, waiting for a stranger. Both are alone until the moment of encounter. This is the metaphor which frames both the writing and the encounter. A woman writes in a quiet space, waiting for a stranger. The silence is, of course, illusory for the noise of the machine is inescapable, this hum of the machine. The popping of struck keys by which the writing appears. With each pop, a mark or a space. As if by accident, rather than design, I am both the woman and the stranger: "tous les deux/all two of them".2 As Derrida says:

And there is always the space between: the space which is neither one nor the other, neither here nor there. Does waiting or writing create this space? During the anxiety induced by waiting and writing, I fill the space between with words. Surely, then, it is the space between which comprises the story: "the living space, the space between us, that we must take care to keep."4 Have you tired of waiting, read ahead and leapt to conclusions, foregoing the space between to fatally arrive somewhere else? Without the space between, there is no possibility, no desire and no story.

As writer/readers, we are in a dialogue through which we write the space between as a desiring narrative. The desire is contingent on the encounter with the other, but not determined by a lack. In our economy, the exchange is the site of intersubjectivity. What if the stranger can't, I mean doesn't, come? This places us into the framework of waiting and expectation. It is a fear that nothing will happen, or worse still, that something might. I am sitting at the scene of writing in an online chat room, waiting for the stranger.


1. Roland Barthes, Roland Barthes, (trans. Richard Howard), Papermac (MacMillan), London, 1977, p 79

2. Helene Cixous ('Story of Contretemps') cited in Jacques Derrida, 'Foreword' in Susan Sellers (ed), The Helene Cixous Reader, Routledge, London, 1996 (fp 1994), p vii

3. Jacques Derrida, ibid., p vii - viii

4. Helene Cixous, 'Coming to Writing' in Deborah Jenson (ed), 'Coming to Writing' and Other Essays, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1991